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BLOG: 5 steps Microsoft can take to beef up Windows Phone 8 market share

Marco Chiappetta | Aug. 22, 2013
According to IDC's most recent data Windows Phone sales increased by 77% year over year, but its market share is still dwarfed by iOS and Android.

A little over a year and half ago, I wrote about an IHS and iSuppli smartphone market report, which claimed that Windows Phone would surpass iOS in market share by 2015, due in part to Nokia's aggressive push into the space and Microsoft's huge marketing blitz. In the conclusion of that post, I said IHS/iSuppli's prediction that Nokia would dominate in the Windows Phone space seemed feasible, but that the massive growth the firm predicted for the mobile OS itself seemed highly optimistic at best. Well, it turns out we were both sort of right-iOS has stumbled, and Windows Phone gained some ground, but the numbers were way off.

Just the other day, IDC released the most recent information available via its Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker and showed that Windows Phone's unit shipments increased an impressive 77.8% year-over-year. As a result, Windows Phone's market share had increased from 3.1% to 3.7%. From the report:

"Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms, and in the process reinforced its position as the number 3 smartphone operating system."

IDC claims there were two main reasons for the huge growth: Nokia's release of two new smartphones and that multiple wireless operators were now selling Windows Phones.

Despite the relatively good news, Windows Phone's appeal with other phone manufacturers remained limited. Also from the IDC report, "Beyond Nokia, Windows Phone remained a secondary option for other vendors, many of which have concentrated on Android." This is evidenced by that fact that Nokia accounted for 81.6% of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during 2Q13. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.

In that same time frame, Android and iOS shipments obliterated Windows Phone, but iOS did cede market share, while Android continued to dominate all comers. In the report from last year, iSuppli projected that iOS's market share would dwindle to 17.3% by this year. But according to IDC, that number has actually shrunk much faster. In IDC's report, iOS worldwide market share dipped down to only 13.2%, though it's important to point out that Apple will likely gain some ground again after its upcoming new product launch (which is slated to happen on September 10, if the most recent rumors are true).

Though Windows Phone continues to show signs of life, it's going to take a miracle for Microsoft to quickly gain more ground. Rumor has it Apple has a "cheap" iPhone planned, which will potentially help Apple in emerging markets. A new high-end iPhone will also be inevitably coming, which will also help Apple's prospects moving forward.

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Credit: IDCIDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, August 2013. Click the table to enlarge.


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